Transcript Shows MSNBC Confused GOP - Tea Party Agreement

For the third time in two weeks, a public meeting was held to clarify misinformation regarding the cooperative agreement between the Greenville County Republican Party and the Upcountry Conservative Coalition that includes several Tea Party groups and others, some of whom show open hostility toward the Republican Party.

A news conference was called for 11 a.m. Friday, February 12 at Tommy’s Ham House in Greenville and announced by Roan A. Garcia-Quintana, Executive Director of “Americans Have Had Enough,” and a member of the Upcountry Conservative Coalition.

The notice stated that the press conference was to be held by “members and leaders of the Upcountry Coalition of Conservative Organizations led by spokesman Harry Kibler. The announced purpose of the event was to “Challenge mendacious statements by SC GOP Chair in her self-promoting cable news appearances.”

The latest episode sprang from what seems to have been misrepresentations and misunderstandings of television interviews of Karen Floyd, South Carolina Republican Party Chairman. Floyd apologized for any misstatements she may have made during the interviews. In the transcript of the interview with MSNBC Floyd stated that “local party chairmen” and the conservative groups “actually forged a union based on ideas and ideology.” One of the interviewers without challenge also stated that “The South Carolina Republican Party is uniting with Tea Parties.” These statements infuriated some members of the Conservative Coalition.

Later in the same interview, Karen Floyd clarified the relationship that had been agreed to between the Greenville and SC GOP and the Conservative Coalition.

“This is not a merging, this is retaining our individuality, but coming together on common ground and it’s exactly what you said, it’s about personal liberties it’s about this idea that we as individuals can make better decisions than can government. It is about limiting government, it’s about lower and less taxes, and so we’ve come together on ideas. We’ve not merged, we’ve not blended organizations, we’ve just come together on ideas and common issues and ground.”

In the message announcing the news conference, Harry Kibler was quoted saying: “We want to set the record straight and remind the public of what the agreement really was. Liberty movements around the state are outraged at Ms. Floyd’s misrepresentation of facts. It seems that many who did not trust the GOP’s intentions from the very beginning are now convinced that the GOP’s intent continues to be to confuse, divide and hence conquer the Liberty Movement of which they appeared to be frightened not only in SC, but also all over the nation.”

The origins of the controversy appear to have come from a proposal by Greenville County GOP State Committeeman Dan Herrin, to charter a Republican Tea Party organization in an effort to bring the political party and the grass roots Tea Party groups into a closer working relationship.

The proposal by Herrin angered some of the members and leaders of what has become known as the Upcountry Coalition of Conservative Organizations. The coalition includes Tea Party and other groups working to elect to public office individuals who support smaller more transparent government, lower taxes, individual liberty and support of the original intent of the US Constitution.

It should be noted that the newly formed conservative coalition, although composed of groups independent of organized political parties include active members of the Republican Party, Democrats unhappy with the Obama economic and social agenda, independents and members of the Constitution and Libertarian Parties. Some have been quite outspoken in their distrust of the Republican Party and resist a cooperative relationship with Republican leaders, because they doubt the sincerity of Republican intentions to become more conservative. Some of these individuals attended the news conference Friday morning and were quite outspoken regarding their views.

Roan Garcia-Quintana introduced Harry Kibler, spokesman for the Coalition.

Kibler said, “There have been some hurt feelings and misunderstandings this week and those of us who are leaders of the Freedom Movement have taken a beating.” He discussed the origin of the controversy and listed the four agreements between the Greenville and SC GOP and the Coalition. The agreement promised that the GOP would not form a Tea Party organization and the coalition would remain independent of all political parties. The coalition members as individuals would be welcome to participate in GOP precinct reorganization, and the GOP would establish liaison with the various factions of the Coalition.

Kibler promised that the Coalition would continue to fight for the principles expressed by the Founders of the republic, and “We will harbor no ill feelings toward the Chairman or the GOP.”

Kibler concluded by emphasizing that, “Government was not created to give us freedom. Government was created to protect that freedom. Government has failed us. The Democrat Party has failed us. The Republican Party has failed us. I hope and I pray that this is the last time that we will need to do a press conference over this issue.

“Our challenge here today is to get people out to vote in the primary election to defeat the RINOs. I have had just about as many calls asking why I hate the Republicans as I have had asking why I sold out the Tea Party movement. I’m a father, and the Bible tells me that if I love my children I will discipline them. I care about the GOP. When I look at the Party platform it says everything that I believe in. But it is time that every one of the citizens in South Carolina and across the country stand up and do some disciplining of the GOP,” Kibler concluded.

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Mike Scruggs